CVCS plays on in honor of Tim, Ethan

October 24, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Cumberland Valley Christian School lost a pair of valuable members of its boys soccer team to a fatal car accident Friday evening.

The CVCS community showed Tuesday how such a tragedy can only strengthen the bond between its students, friends and families.

Supporters showed up in large numbers with open hearts to back the soccer team, which took the field for the first time since sophomore players Ethan Gunnell and Timothy Madeiros died in the accident on Letterkenny Road.

The soccer team lost its Mason-Dixon Christian Conference playoff game against Heritage Academy, 2-1. But certainly, no player will regret the need to retake the field on such an emotional day.

"There's a lot of things you can say, but give credit to the boys for stepping on that field today. It was up to them," CVCS coach Jon Shannon said. "Initially, I know it was tough. No one was thinking about playing ball after the accident, but as time went by, they started thinking that it would be what Timmy and Ethan would have wanted. That's what we did."


The Blazers observed a moment of silence before the game in remembrance of the fallen 15-year-olds. The players wore red wristbands, printed with the initials and numbers of Gunnell (No. 11) and Madeiros (14), whose jerseys were draped on the CVCS bench facing a wall of supporters on the north sideline. Most wore Blazers red and white in tribute. Many shared hugs. Some shed tears.

"This school community is just a big family. It's been supportive of this team the whole way, but no better than they are now," Shannon said. "This latest trial has brought us together even more."

Also showing support on the sideline for CVCS were patrons from neighboring MDCC schools, including Grace Academy, Broadfording Christian and Shalom Christian. The Heritage Academy faithful gave signed cards and soccer balls to the mourning families.

"So many shows of love and friendship from these schools. At times like these, the school sports rivalries disappear," Shannon said.

"We're all Christians, binding together with the support and focus of helping one another through difficult times, which is what matters."

Perhaps most touching was the presence of the survivors of the accident. Jordan Reidy and brothers Andrew and Tyler Lawson were in attendance to remember Gunnell and Madeiros and watch the soccer team reoccupy its home field, difficult as it must have been.

"It was very tough to watch, but I'm proud of my team," said Tyler Lawson, who was one of three 10th-graders on the team, along with Gunnell and Madeiros. "We were basically brothers, blood could not of made us any closer. We were together all the time. I looked up to them and they helped me out all the time. They never brought me down."

That was it for the CVCS boys soccer team - together all the time, looking up to one another, never putting each other down - a brotherhood. Gunnell and Madeiros know this brotherhood, hedged by a community as devoted and strong as ever.

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